In a small political world like that of Northern Irish unionism, there should be a certain frisson about the possible formation of a new party. However, only the most febrile unionist observers have contrived the faintest excitement over negotiations taking place between 100 basket cases in Moygashel last night.
Attending this meeting were such luminaries as Willie Frazer, who attempted to organise the ill-fated Love Ulster rally of flag waving loyalists in Dublin last year, and Robin Stirling, erstwhile primary school headmaster who has spent his retirement contending his freedom to play Orange party songs whilst mowing the lawn, a liberty which he has vocally proclaimed in Ballymena Borough Council. Leslie Cubitt joined the fun proclaiming that Ian Paisley would not be 1st Minister by Christmas.
The nominal “hinge” of this meeting was Jim Allister, a man reminiscent of the priest in Father Ted with the incredibly boring voice. It’s simply impossible to listen to what he’s actually saying.
The desire of the electorate for this coterie to actually establish a party is practically zero. The wrangling (and if they ever become a party how this lot will get on for long enough to actually contest an election is questionable) over whether they should become a political party or a pressure group goes some way to emphasising that at least some of those involved recognise this.
The only merit in this grouping, and particularly those who used to be in the DUP, is their consistency. They may be loopy, but at least they have remained consistently loopy and haven’t displayed the blatant hypocrisy of Paisley and his cronies.